The testing and development of innovative fragrances

Date of publication: June 15, 1991

Company: Givaudan

Author: Tom McGee


Part one of the paper reviews the innovation process and relates this to the creation of new fragrances. Special attention is focussed on the development phase, of the creative process, which recognises the difficulty of using conventional market research to test novel fragrances. Complex factors are involved, such as the rejection of novelty, the influence of responses based on acquired experience and complex social and cognitive factors. The consumer's paucity of language to describe fragrances also increases the difficulty. The second part of the paper discusses two case studies on the development and testing of innovative perfumes. It shows how an understanding of the appropriate creative process can set a strategy for the development and testing of innovative fragrances. The first study exemplifies a linear innovation strategy by which a new fragrance was created using the consumer's odour associations, which cued the desired response. The fragrances were optimised by attribute profiling and the final selection was in a concepted in-use test against a market bench-mark. The second study discusses how an innovative perfume was created by an "intuitive leap" strategy, which focussed the creative effort on an unexplored odour region and used testing techniques which avoided rejection of the novel odour. The innovative fragrance was optimised using indirect and projective methods. The final selection was an integration of several qualitative studies which ensured that the fragrance was coherent with the concept. The partnership between the client and the perfume house is emphasised. It provides an intimate knowledge of the concept and allows the time to carry out the creative process and testing strategy for perfume optimisation in parallel with the concept development

Tom McGee


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